Residents of a new, luxury apartment building on the East Side of Austin, Texas, aren’t very happy with some of their neighbors and it’s causing some serious debate about what gentrification is doing to the city.
Members of a lowrider car club, Hands Full of Cash Car Club, have been coming together at “Chicano Park” across the street from the luxury building, The Weaver, on Sundays since the early 1990s to show off their cars, drink beer, listen to hip-hop and Tejano music and just hang out. Most of the participants are young Latino and Black men.
While the lowrider fans have been staples in the area for around 25-30 years, Weaver residents are tired of the traffic the meetup is causing and hearing the loud music. So, they’ve started calling the police every weekend the group congregates.
“We should shut this thing down,” a Weaver resident told Texas Monthly. The magazine also reports the building’s tenants have called the get-togethers “scary” and a “display of toxic masculinity.”
The lowrider group and its supporters, however, are refusing to back down. They rallied together Sunday (March 30) to discuss keeping the culture alive in the neighborhood.
“I know we have a lot of newcomers and we need to welcome them, but we have to remember we cannot let them take over,” one of the speakers said.
With more large companies like Tesla, Apple, Oracle, Charles Schwab, Samsung and others expanding into Austin, many residents in areas are seeing their neighborhoods change drastically as people are pushed out because of rising housing costs. Once a working-class Latino neighborhood, the median sale price for a house in the “Chicano Park” area is now $800,000.
During their visit to the area, Texas Monthly witnessed a vocal resident of The Weaver angrily come downstairs to film the cars and threaten to call the police. “You can’t tell me drugs aren’t being distributed over there,” she said. “The brazenness of it all just kills me!”
A member of the car club who goes by the name “Kilo” wonders why the residents need to take it that far. Why not just walk over to the group and introduce themselves?
“If you come with good energy, you’ll find out that we’re just here to chill and enjoy the cars and the scenery,” he said. “Don’t be scared.”